Traditional and Advanced WPCB Recycling

  • Muammer Kaya
Part of the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series book series (MMMS)


Conventional and advanced/novel WPCB and e-waste recycling processes are introduced and compared in this chapter. Traditional uncontrolled incineration and mechanical separation (i.e., gravity separation) methods are covered. Novel pyrometallurgical methods for WPCB recycling include direct smelting, incineration, physico-mechanical separation, vacuum pyrolysis, and gasification. Limitations and emerging technologies in pyrometallurgy are also presented. Industrial pyrometallurgical processes for the recovery of metals from e-waste are stated. Hydrometallurgy, purification, solvent extraction, ion exchange, and electrowinning are explained in detail. Advantages and disadvantages of base metals, precious metals, brominated epoxy resin, and solder stripping solvents are compared. Possible chemical reactions between metals and reagents are presented. Finally, water treatment processes are mentioned shortly.


Landfill Incineration Mechanical separation Pyrometallurgy Pyrolysis Hydrometallurgy Bioleaching Purification Solvent extraction 


  1. 1.
    Lee J, Kim YJ, Lee JC (2012) Disassembly and physical separation of electric/electronic components layered in printed circuit boards (PCB). J Hazard Mater 241–242:387–394. Scholar
  2. 2.
    Zhang L, Xu Z (2016) A review of current progress of recycling technologies for metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment. J Clean Prod 127:19–36. Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kaya M (2018) Waste printed circuit board (WPCB) recycling: conventional and emerging technology approach. In: Reference module in materials science and materials engineering/encyclopedia of renewable and sustainable materials. Elsevier. Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ning C, Lin CSK, Hui DCW (2017) Waste printed circuit board (PCB) recycling techniques. Top Curr Chem 375:43. Scholar
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    Kellner D (2009) Recycling and recovery. In: Hester RE, Harrison RM (eds) Electronic waste management, design, analysis and application. RSC Publishing, Cambridge, pp 91–110Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kaya M (2016) Recovery of metals from electronic waste by physical and chemical recycling processes. Int J Chem Mol Eng 10(2).
  8. 8.
    Khaliq A, Rhamdhani MA, Brooks G, Masood S (2014) Metal extraction processes for electronic waste and existing industrial routes: a review and Australian perspective. Resources 3(1):152–179. Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gulgul A, Szczepaniak W, Zablocka-Malicka M (2017) Incineration, pyrolysis and gasification of electronic waste, E3S Web of conferences, 22, 00060.
  10. 10.
    Wang JB, Xu ZM (2015) Disposing and recycling waste printed circuit boards: disconnecting, resource recovery and pollution control. Environ Sci Technol 49:721–733. Scholar
  11. 11.
    Qui K, Wu Q, Zhan Z (2009) Vacuum pyrolysis characteristics of waste printed circuit boards epoxy resin and analysis of liquid products. J Cent South Univ/Sci Technol 5 (in Chinese).
  12. 12.
    Zhang S, Yoshikawa K, Nakagome H, Kamo T (2013) Kinetics of the steam gasification of a phenolic circuit board in the presence of carbonates. Appl Energy 101:815–821. Scholar
  13. 13.
    Salbidegoitia JA, Fuentes-Ordonez EG, Gonzalez-Marcos MP, Gonzalez-Velasco JR, Bhaskar T, Kamo T (2015) Steam gasification of printed circuit board from e-waste: effect of coexisting nickel to hydrogen production. Fuel Process Technol 133:69–74. Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zhang S, Yu Y (2016) Dechlorination behavior on the recovery of useful resources from WEEE by the steam gasification in the molten carbonates. Procedia Environ Sci 31:903–910. Scholar
  15. 15.
    Acomb JC, Anas Nahil M, Williams PT (2013) Thermal processing of plastics from waste electrical and electronic equipment for hydrogen production. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 103:320–327. Scholar
  16. 16.
    Mankhand TR, Singh KK, Gupta SK, Das S (2012) Pyrolysis of printed circuit boards. Int J Metall Eng 1(6):102–107. Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jones DA, Lelyveld TP, Mavrofidis SD, Kingham SW, Miles NJ (2002) Microwave heating applications in environmental engineering: a review. Resour Conserv Recycl 34(2):75–90. Scholar
  18. 18.
    Soare V, Burada M, Dumitrescu DV, Costantian I, Soare V, Popescu ANJ, Carcea I (2016) Innovation approach for the valorization of useful metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). IOP Conference Series, Materials Science and Engineering.; Scholar
  19. 19.
  20. 20.
    Zhou G, He Y, Luo Z, Zhao Y (2010) Feasibility of pyrometallurgy to recover metals from waste printed circuit boards. Fresenius Environ Bull 19(7):1254–1259. ISSN: 03043894Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hagelüken C (2006) Recycling of electronic scrap at Umicore’s integrated metals smelter and refinery. World Metall ERZMETALL 59(3):152–161Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Scott A (2014) Innovations in mobile phone recycling: biomining to dissolving circuit boards. Available from:
  23. 23.
    Tuncuk A, Stazi V, Akcil A, Yazici EY, Deveci H (2012) Aqueous metal recovery techniques from E-scrap: hydrometallurgy in recycling. Miner Eng 25:28. Scholar
  24. 24.
    Le Ret C, Briel O (2011) Umicore manufacturing precious metal based catalysts and APIs… and more! Chim Oggi/Chem Today 29:2–3Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kaya M (2016a) Recovery of metals and nonmetals from electronic waste by physical and chemical recycling processes. Waste Manag 57:64–90. Scholar
  26. 26.
    Baba H (1987) An efficient recovery of gold and other noble metals from electronic and other scraps. Conserv Recycl 10(4):247–252. Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kinoshita T, Akita S, Kobayashi N, Nii S, Kwaizumi F, Takahashi K (2003) Metal recovery from non-mounted printed wiring boards via hydrometallurgical processing. Hydrometallurgy 69:73–79. Scholar
  28. 28.
    Samina M, Karim A, Venkatachalam A (2011) Corrosion study of iron and copper metals and brass alloy in different medium. E J Chem 8:344–348. Scholar
  29. 29.
    Yang JG, Tang CB, He J, Yang SH, Tang MT (2011) A method of extracting valuable metals from electronic wastes, State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China, ZL 200910303503.5.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Iannicelli-Zubiani EM, Giani MI, Recanati F, Dotelli G, Puricelli S, Cristiani C (2017) Environmental impacts of a hydrometallurgical processes for electronic waste treatment: a life cycle assessment case study. J Clean Prod 140:1204–1216. Scholar
  31. 31.
    Batnasan A, Haga K, Shibayama A (2018) Recovery of precious and base metals from waste printed circuit boards using a sequential leaching procedure. JOM 70(2):124–128. Scholar
  32. 32.
    Havlik T, Orac D, Petranikova M, Miskufova A, Kukurugya F, Takacova Z (2010) Leaching of copper and tin from used printed circuit boards after thermal treatment. J Hazard Mater 183:866–873. Scholar
  33. 33.
    Yang C, Li J, Tan Q, Liu L, Dong Q (2017) Green process of metal recycling: coprocessing waste printed circuit boards and spent tin stripping solution. ACS Sustain ChemEng 5:3524–3535. Scholar
  34. 34.
    Zhang X, Guan J, Gua Y, Cao Y, Gua J, Yuan H, Su R, Liang B, Gao G, Zhou Y, Xu J, Guo Z (2017) Effective dismantling of waste PCB assembly with methanesulfonic acid containing hydrogen peroxide, AIChE. Environ Prog Sustain Energy 36(3). Scholar
  35. 35.
    Dorneanu SA (2017) Electrochemical recycling of waste printed circuit boards in bromide media. Part 1: Preliminary leaching and dismantling tests. Stud Univ Babes Bolyai Chem LXII(3):177–186. Scholar
  36. 36.
    Calgaro CO, Schlemmer DF, da Silva MDCR, Maziero EV, Tanabe EH, Bertuol DA (2015) Fast copper extraction from printed circuit boards using supercritical carbon dioxide. Waste Manag 45:289–297. Scholar
  37. 37.
    Silvas FPC, Correa MMJ, Caldes MPK, Moraes VT, Espinosa DCR, Tenorio JAS (2015) Printed circuit board recycling; physical processing and copper extraction by selective leaching. Waste Manag 46:503–510. Scholar
  38. 38.
    Mecucci A, Scott K (2002) Leaching and electrochemical recovery of copper, lead and tin from scrap printed circuit boards. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 77:449–457. Scholar
  39. 39.
    Liang G, Tang J, Liu W, Zhou Q (2013) Optimizing mixed culture of two acidophiles to improve copper recovery from printed circuit boards (PCBs). J Hazard Mater 250–251:238–245. Scholar
  40. 40.
    Ilyas S, Anwar MA, Niazi SB, Ghauri MA (2007) Bioleaching of metals from electronic scrap by moderately thermophilic acidophilic bacteria. Hydrometallurgy 88:180–188. Scholar
  41. 41.
    Ilyas S, Ruan C, Bhatti HN, Ghauri MH, Anwar MH (2010) Column bioleaching of metals from electronic scrap. Hydrometallurgy 101:135–140. Scholar
  42. 42.
    Yang T, Xu Z, Wen J, Yang L (2009) Factors influencing bioleaching copper from waste printed circuit boards by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Hydrometallurgy 97:29–32. Scholar
  43. 43.
    Ting Y-P, Tan CC, Pham VA (2008) Cyanide-generating bacteria for gold recovery from electronic scrap material. J Biotechnol 136:S653–S654. Scholar
  44. 44.
    Faramarzi MA, Stagars M, Pensini E, Krebs W, Brandl H (2004) Metal solubilization from metal-containing solid materials by cyanogenic Chromobacterium violaceum. J Biotechnol 113(1–3):321–326. Scholar
  45. 45.
    Xiang Y, Wu P, Zhu N, Zhang T, Liu W, Wu J, Li P (2010) Bioleaching of copper from waste printed circuit boards by bacterial consortium enriched from acid mine drainage. J Hazard Mater 184(1–3):812–818. Scholar
  46. 46.
    Marhual NP, Pradha N, Kar RN, Sukla LB, Mishra BK (2008) Differential bioleaching of copper by mesophilic and moderately thermophilic acidophilic consortium enriched from same copper mine water sample. Bioresour Technol 99:8331–8336. Scholar
  47. 47.
    Sampson MI, Phillips CV (2001) Influence of base metals on the oxidizing ability of acidophilic bacteria during the oxidation of ferrous sulfate and mineral sulfide concentrates, using mesophiles and moderate thermophiles. Miner Eng 14:317–340. Scholar
  48. 48.
    Brandl H, Bosshard R, Wegmann M (1999) Computer-munching microbes: metal leaching from electronic scrap by bacteria and fungi. Process Metall 9:569–576. Scholar
  49. 49.
    Zhu N, Xiang Y, Zhang T, Wu P, Dang Z, Li P, Wu J (2011) Bioleaching of metal concentrates of waste printed circuit boards by mixed culture of acidophilic bacteria. J Hazard Mater 192:614–619. Scholar
  50. 50.
    Luda MP (2017) Chapter 15: Recycling of printed circuit boards. In: Kumar S (ed) Integrated waste management, vol 2. InTech, Rijeka, pp 285–298. Scholar
  51. 51.
    Memon AH, Patel RL, Pitroda DJ (2017) Design for recovery of precious and base metals from e-waste using electrowinning process. Int J Adv Res Eng Sci Technol 4(5):579–586. e-ISSN: 2393-9877, p-ISSN: 2394-2444Google Scholar
  52. 52.
  53. 53.
  54. 54.
    Kim EY, Kim MS, Lee JC, Pandey BD (2011) Selective recovery of gold from waste mobile phone PCBs by hydrometallurgical process. J Hazard Mater 198:206–215. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muammer Kaya
    • 1
  1. 1.Mining Engineering DepartmentEskisehir Osmangazi UniversityEskisehirTurkey

Personalised recommendations